How do you remove labels from old bottles?

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Pelikan

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Fairly self-explanatory question. Is there any easy way to remove labels/glue from old bottles, or do you just leave 'em on there? It doesn't particularly matter to me one way or the other, but I don't want a friend reaching in the fridge for a Young's Double Chocolate, and getting an IPA, for example.
 

hcarter

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I put 24 beer bottles in the bathtub yesterday with just hot water. I left them there until the water cooled. The labels came right off. Of course, this was all while SWMBO was away. Good way to teach your youngest boy to count to 24 though.
 

Hammy71

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I've found Oxy-clean in the sink with hot water for about 15 minutes. Some brands just slide off but for the others I have a sponge that has a "scratchy" side...... Even the toughest come right off....
 

ChefBrew

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I got the tip from Revvy, I don't think I'll ever doubt him. Those things came off like they wanted to come off, completely clean. No glue residue either.
 

mr_goodwrench

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I have a 4 gallon frosting bucket that I acquired from the bakery department of my local supermarket. I keep it in the garage next to the beer fridge with oxyclean in it. When i finish a commercial brew, I rinse the bottle, fill with water(to prevent it from floating) and drop it in. At the end of the week, I pull them out, slide the labels off and wash. Then I make a new batch of oxyclean.
 

eriktlupus

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old square cooler, oxyclean and hot water. let the water cool down to ambient temps and then rinse off the labels:D
 

GolgiApparatus

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Same here as most. Oxyclean in the sink with hot water for a couple of hours. Most labels slide off and I just "wash" the outside of the bottle with the scrubby side of a sponge. For the tough ones, I have a 35cent black plastic scraper (cheap 2" drywall spackler) from Lowes. Takes about 5 seconds per bottle to get through a really resistant label.
 

bsay

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In my experience, the duration is not the key, it's how HOT the water is. Hot water = melts the glue. I usually use Sam Adams bottles, after 30 minutes in the hottest tap water I can get, the labels have already fallen off into the bottom of the sink. I do throw in a bit of oxyclean for good measure, and check the bottoms, some people don't rinse as well as us homebrewers, so have your bottle brush ready. Erdinger bottles only take 15 minutes, and there's a lot less glue residue, plus they hold 16.9 oz. !!!
 

rabidgerbil

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I've found Oxy-clean in the sink with hot water for about 15 minutes. Some brands just slide off but for the others I have a sponge that has a "scratchy" side...... Even the toughest come right off....
+1 on this posting.
I have a plastic bucket that I keep around just for this purpose...
I can get one full case of bottles into it
 

Dextersmom

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On the rare times there is any glue residue left after the label slips off, I keep one of these handy...It takes them off in one or two rubs.

gonna try that for my next round of label cleaning.

currently i soak in soapy water for a day or two then take the labels and glue off with one of them metal scouring pads, then give em a good rinsing and brushing inside and out.
 

ifishsum

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In my experience, the duration is not the key, it's how HOT the water is. Hot water = melts the glue.
I agree with this - I usually use a bit of bleach with hot water in a rubbermaid tote. After about 20-30 minutes most of the labels slip off easily, and a scotch brite pad takes care of any glue residue that might be left. Then they get a good rinse, at least 3 times to get rid of any traces of bleach. They always come out squeaky clean and ready to go.

If I let them soak too long, the paper labels start to disintegrate and makes the job messier.
 

2pugbrews

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Fairly self-explanatory question. Is there any easy way to remove labels/glue from old bottles, or do you just leave 'em on there? It doesn't particularly matter to me one way or the other, but I don't want a friend reaching in the fridge for a Young's Double Chocolate, and getting an IPA, for example.
1cup household ammonia in 5 gal water soaked overnight. Labels will slip right off. Also works to loosen grunge in bottom of bottles
 

GABrewer1426

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I am too cheap for the Oxyclean. I just soak my bottles in hot water for 10mins or so. Usually the labels come right off. In those rare instances that they don't (Like Beck's bottles) I use a carrot peeler. Saw this trick on youtube.

It leaves a little mess in the sink, but I have a strainer that catches it all. Not a big deal.

The easiest bottles I've found with label removing; Budweiser American Ale. Hot soak for 10mins, then run it under the tab, wipe it and done. It's a nice shaped bottle, an eagle on the side. VOILA.

My two (less experienced) cents.
 

amsmith592

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Ok squash me for only having 3 postings and being a complete "red shirt" when it comes to home brewing, but hear me out on this.....The EASIEST method for label removal is use the dishwasher. Now saying that dont toss them in for a compete cycle as this will piss of the wife due to extereme label clogging in the botom of the dishwasher. Simply load them up, select your favorite detergent, and let them run on a high temp wash for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, open the door,let the steam clear out and the labels will peel off like stickers on a sheet. The labels will though leave behind a glue membrane that will quickly dissapear by restarting the dishwasher cycle and let it run its course to the finish. Now since I initiated detergent, I re-run the bottles with no detergent, hot wash, and use my sanitize cycle. Always works, no waiting for soaking.
 

STAD

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Just drink Sam Adams exclusively. The labels are purposely the easiest to remove.
 

rabidgerbil

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I am too cheap for the Oxyclean.
Buy it at Sams Club, if you have access, or know someone who does. They sell a 14# box of the stuff for $15. The added advantage is that it not only gets the labels off, but any funk that has formed on the inside of the bottle comes floating to the top also. I have never taken a bottle out of a hot oxyclean soak that did not look brand new after just a quick rinse off.
 

Tenchiro

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I have to say that I finally got around to getting some Oxyclean for de-labeling my bottles and it works really, really well. I followed the instruction on the tub and used 1/2 cup per gallon but it seemed like too much.

Any thoughts on how muc to use?
 

Jewrican

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i used to use a bleach solution but i tried oxyclean the other day... i will never use anything else. Oxyclean removed the labels so easily.
 

RC0032

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I wrap the bottle in a wet paper towel and when I'm done drinking the beer the label is ready to be pealed off. Then a quick scrub with a brush gets off all the glue residue.

Easy :)
 

kirscp

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This is what I've found:

Paper labels: Soak in water overnight, the labels come right off, use something to wipe the glue off.

Plastic labels: Soak the bottles in HOT water, to melt the glue. I then take the labels off under running hot water. Label and glue comes right off.

Screen Printed Labels (Corona): Soak in a StarSan solution. I use 1oz StarSan with 1 Gallon of water. I fill the bottles with water and stand them up in the starsan solution. I then use a razor blade and Scotch Brite pad. I let soak for 2 hours, then scrape off what comes off, repeat until everything is removed. Normally takes around 6 hours.
 

Amiaji

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Box cutter/razor blade. Buy Guiness Draft. The lables are shrink wrapped, come right off. Then you are left with a bottle that has no other marks on it. Oh did I mention I love Guiness Draft?
 

tom777

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I love the Oxyclean for removing labels, but I do have a 6-pack of bottles that required some manual intervention -- Southampton IPA. Maybe a soak in Starsan would work on those as they have a plastic-like glue that I had to scrape off.
 
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